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00:30:00

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Virtual Ch. 110 (CSPAN3)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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528

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480

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United States 17, Truman 14, Berlin 11, Harry Truman 10, Soviet Union 9, Joseph Stalin 9, Europe 8, China 7, Greece 5, Us 5, Nato 4, Turkey 4, Stalin 4, Germany 3, South America 3, U.s. 3, West Berlin 3, Western Europe 3, Dr. Suess 3, The United States 3,
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  CSPAN    [untitled]  

    May 14, 2012
    12:00 - 12:30am EDT  

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some historians have said roosevelt really wasn't well at yalta, he wasn't at his best. but roosevelt's going to agree to some of stalin's demands, poland, for example. part of it is simply he's maintaining that philosophy of wanting to try to cooperate with this guy. i'm not going to antagonize you. i want to cooperate with you. part of it might be he wasn't -- in fact, some historians claim part of the reason, you know, roosevelt gave in a little bit at yalta was he's simply not at his best. the fact is, he's not. a little over six weeks later, roosevelt is dead. we talked about this on tuesday. cerebral hemorrhage, april of '45. roosevelt is dead. the president who carried us through the depression, the new deal on the road to war and now
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almost, almost all the way through the war is gone. that brings a change. missouri's own harry truman now becomes president of the united states. very interesting circumstances, obviously. we are just about to wrap up the war in europe. we are i land hopping our way into japan. i mean, it looks promising and yet, there are all kinds of pot holes along the way. we still have to finish the defeat of germany. we still have to finish off japan. how we do that, when we do that, and what are the consequences of what we're doing, that's the rest of the story. truman is going to meet with stalin and churchill in potsdam, germany, after hitler is defeated. i mean, it's a new big three now
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with harry truman being the president now instead of roosevelt. truman's attitude is going to be very different from that of roosevelt. and some indication of that change of u.s. policy comes right away. remember i mentioned to you that even vice president harry truman had not been kept informed of the manhattan project. one of them is, there's a few things you need to know. we've been working on a bomb. it's the biggest, baddest bomb around. here in potsdam, truman gets the word that it works. we have successfully detonated an atomic bomb. it works. and so he goes over to stalin
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and says to him, yeah, hitler's been defeated. we want to cooperate with you, but i need to let you in on a little secret. the secret is, we're going to end this war with japan because we have an atomic weapon, the likes of which, again, the world has never seen. that was supposed to be news to stalin. it wasn't. he already knew. really ironic, our own vice president harry truman was sort of kept in the dark about the whole development. yet, stalin already knew. we already have soviet spies in the united states who had passed information along to stalin that we were working on it, we were close to it. he already knew we were very close to having a successful nuclear weapon. well, what truman's going to do then is to give the japanese an
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opportunity to surrender. when they don't, we've talked about this, we dropped two. the first on hiroshima august 6th. when there still was no surrender, we dropped the second on nagasaki on august 9th and the japanese surrender. and i mentioned to you last time, the primary reason why truman dropped it, to save american lives. the estimates of americans, what was the casualty, if we were going to invade mainland japan as high as perhaps a million american casualties. exactly. that was the primary reason why truman drops the bomb. today, i'm going to give you a secondary reason. it's possible that harry truman also decided to drop that bomb not just to save american lives but also to signal a shift in u.s. foreign policy to send joseph stalin a completely different message about the role
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of the united states in its relationship with the soviet union. we're going to drop this bomb to send you a signal that there's a new sheriff in town. roosevelt's dead. cooperation is dead. harry truman is going to have a completely different foreign policy objective. he's going to rely on this guy. this is george kennan. our so-called expert on all things soviet, all things stalin. george kennan probably knew more about the history of the soviet union, its current status than anybody else. and he came to truman with basically eight couple of themes, if you will. he told truman first that there
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can never be any permanent or lasting peace between the united states and the soviet union. we are simply two different countries. so don't even try. roosevelt tried to cooperate with them. and kennen is saying we are simply too different. the second thing that he told truman is that joseph stalin is determined to undermine and overthrow free and democratic countries around the world. if you thought hitler was determined to take over the world, joseph stalin probably is. he will use every opportunity he can to spread communism around the world. therefore, what truman was wearing was a change in foreign policy. kennan is going to recommend that the united states not cooperate with the soviet union anymore, but we need to contain
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the soviet union. this is a dramatic shift in u.s. foreign policy, containment. if stalin is trying to infiltrate this area or this country, we must be there. stop them, thwart them. hold them back, contain their expansion. this is what kennen is advising. and so the days of cooperation are gone. the days of containment are here. this is going to mean that the united states is going to have a dramatic shift in foreign policy that largely lasts up to this day where we are going to become sort of the big brother to the world. we are going to be involved in other countries around the world. the days of isolationism are gone now. how does containment play itself out? well, 1947 is a big year for the cold war. harry truman is now going to start to describe for the american people and for the world what containment actually means. there's trouble in greece and
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turkey. after world war ii, both greece and turkey are struggling financially. politically. there's rebellions. there's insurrections in these twos countries. harry truman is going to develop what's known as the truman doctrine in which the united states is going to send over $400 million worth of economic assistance to greece and turkey. now, brief explanation. this is exactly what kennen was talking about. there's insurrection. now, there's rebellions. there's people rioting in the street. there's a problem. is it possible that the soviet union has infiltrated greece and turkey trying to overthrow countries in the mediterranean? this is what we have been warned about. stalin is spreading his influence down into the mediterranean. now, that's not the case. we know that today. but in 1947, it fit perfectly with our suspicions of stalin
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and the soviet union. so, we're going to get involved. we're going to send $400 million worth of aid to try to prop them up to defend themselves against this insurgency. second element of containment, the marshal plan. named after george marshall. $13 billion as it turns out. $13 billion of economic assistance to rebuild western europe. world war ii has devastated france, belgium, the netherlands, britain. they are in weakened state. as long as they're in a weakened state, they are susceptible to influence, foreign influence. communist influence. when people are at their bottom rung, they're willing to listen to anyone who offers them a different message of hope or whatever. the best way to hold back
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communist expansion is with a healthy rebuilt europe. $13 billion to rebuild western europe to hold back the soviet expansion. congress passes the national security act in 1947. this is an amazing piece of legislation. it's got lots of different facets to it, creates a national security agency, we're going to revamp our military. we're going to coordinate our various branches of the military. but what i wanted to talk about specifically today was that it created the cia. what's that stand for? >> central intelligence agency. >> if joseph stalin is bent upon undermining free and democratic countries around the world, we sort of ought to know that. how are we going to know that unless we have people on the ground in countries around the world. we're going to start ending out secret agents, you know, folks
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going out there to gather intelligence. i'm not talking about james bond. we're talking about, we're going to be sending out individuals working for our government, eyes and ears, what's going on in this country. are they susceptible to influence. and, of course, if we think that the soviet union is going to undermine and overthrow free and democratic countries, maybe those guys might have the an opportunity to undermine a weak and vacillating communist state, as well. so we're not only going to go out and gather intelligence, we might spark a little rebellion on our own behalf if we see stalin sort of asleep at the wheel. and then finally in 1947, we sign the rio pact. sounds like a song, but it's a military alliance between most of the countries of central and south america and the united states. it's a defensive alliance. where an attack upon one is an attack upon all. and, of course, big brother, the united states will come to their aid and rescue.
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we've always been sort of the protector of the western hemisphere from the days back in the monroe doctrine in the 1800s. now we have sort of codified that saying we will voluntarily come to the aid and assistance of countries in south america. this is containment. now, stop for a second and put yourself in joseph stalin's shoes. the united states has gotten involved in greece and turkey, the mediterranean. the united states has gotten involved in rebuilding western europe. the united states is sending out guys all around the world. now we have signed on to a military alliance with central and south america. if you're joseph stalin, who is the great threat to the peace, safety and security of the world? who is trying to take over the
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world? yes, the united states. if you're stalin and paranoid and you're suspicious, it's the united states. and so, if you're joseph stalin, you have to respond. the cold war senior like a tennis match. it goes from one court to the other. we do something, the soviet union does something. we respond, they respond. here is stalin's response. he's going to tighten up control over countries in eastern europe, hungary and czechoslovakia i mentioned specifically because those were two countries that were supposed to have free elections after world war ii was over. yeah, those free elections sort of go out the window by 1948. the communists, there is a purge of leadership and these two countries are going to basically become puppet regimes of the soviet union. and then there's berlin. this is -- it gets a little
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complicated now. just keep in mind that during world war ii at the very end, you've got the russian, the soviet army is driving deep into germany. they're going to get to berlin before we do. they're going to occupy much of eastern germany with their army, with their forces. berlin is a develop important city in german history, culture, government, politics. but it is going to be a divided city here in the cold war era. we're going to have the eastern part of berlin controlled by the soviet union. and the western part of berlin is going to be divided into different sectors, the french, the british, the american sector. it's a divided city in a divided country. now i know this is a foreign concept to you guys. my generation it makes perfect sense.
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i grew up understanding that there was always an east germany and a west germany and an east berlin and a west berlin up until about 1989, 1990. you guys weren't even born then. so this is really difficult for you to comprehend, but back in the end of the world war ii, the soviet red army moved into and controlled much of east germany and surrounded berlin. the americans, the british and the french are going to have a presence there simply because we have wind up the war, we have to have negotiations, we have to have a demilitarizization. we're going to have a presence in berlin. as a response to containment, as a response to everything that truman was doing, what joseph stalin did was to try to drive us out of berlin in the summer of 1948. what he's going to do is to cut
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off all ground access into and out of west berlin. up until this point, you could freely and easily move from one sector to the other without much of a problem or much of an issue. you show proper identification, you can simply cross from the american sector to the soviet sector or back and forth into the different sectors. in june of '48, stalin puts a stop to that. now, we're not can a wall yet. the berlin wall comes later. what stalin is going to do is to put up a perimeter that are separates east from the west and around the exterior of west berlin. he is basically holding west berliners prisoners. nothing is coming in, nothing is going out. he's trying to basically starve west berlin meaning the americans, the british and the french to get our countries out of west berlin so that he has complete control over the city. it's a blockade, if you will of western berlin.
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what does truman do? is he going to allow our interests, our allies' interests in west berlin to be limited simply because stalin has this ability to close us off by land? no. truman is going to respond with almost an entire year of an airlift of goods and supplies, food, fuel, anything that the people of west berlin needed will now be flown in to that part of the city. i love the map simply because it shows you that in each of the three sectors, each of the three sectors has an airport. and so we can fly in cargo planes into each sector, loaded with food, medicine, supplies. walmart gift cards, aa batteries, whatever they need, they are going to have access to. and truman knows that stalin
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won't shoot down those planes. if you stop and think about your geography here, these planes are going to have to fly from take off maybe from a base in great britain, fly across the channel, across friendly air space in western europe, and then they have to fly over eastern germany before they can get into the west berlin. they're actually flying into soviet-controlled air space. truman says they won't be shot down. there's nothing stalin can do about us airlifting all these goods and supplies into west berlin. he won't shoot down our planes. why not? if a war starts -- >> we've got the bomb. >> we've got the bomb and they don't. >> truman as a very tough stance against stalin. he's talking tough. we've got the bomb and you don't. our experts had told truman that it would probably be at least
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five if not ten or maybe even more than that years down the road before the soviet union would ever have the ability to successfully detonate an atomic bomb. and so we can fly all these planes in to resupply and help the people of west berlin fly over soviet controlled air space and they won't be shot down. we have the bomb and they don't. eventually, the airlift is over in may of 1949. stalin was trying to drag this thing out and see if our resolve would weaken. it didn't. we've got planes taking off and landing 24/7. it's a battle of wills and we want out. when it's all said and done, berlin is going to be a divided city. we're going to string up barbed wire. we're going to have checkpoints along the way, and eventually a wall is going to be built.
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that's another lecture for another day. >> the takeover of the western half happened? was it like a 24-hour he sent in troops? >> yeah, basically he's going to have forces along the interior separating east and west berlin as well as simply move them in, since west berlin is technically in east germany, there are going to be forces that they can quickly move in and blockade the roads and the waterways to make sure nothing gets in or out. at the very bottom of that slide, truman's response to this attempt to blockade. what does nato stand for? what's the o stand for. organization. good. north atlantic treaty organization. this is sort of the by-product of the rio pact. if we are going to have a military alliance with latin america, nato is sort of in a military alliance with western europe. an attack upon a country of nato
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is going to bring the united states involvement. you don't want that, joseph stalin. you don't want that at all. why? because we have the bomb and you don't. the cold war is back and forth and back and forth. beat do something, they do something. well, here's the soviet response to the creation of nato. and the airlift. remember experts had informed truman it would be five years, ten years, maybe more down the road before the soviet union would ever have the atomic bomb? no. in early september, an american spy plane picks up evidence of a successful nuclear blast. it's not us. the blast actually occurred at the very end of august.
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truman is informed in early september. folks, this changes everything. truman's foreign policy, his containment has been predicated on this very tough stance against the soviet union because when push comes to shove, we have the bomb and they don't. well, now that changes because the soviet union has successfully detonated an atomic bomb. by the end of 1949, we basically have a stalemate in europe. the united states is propping up western europe. economically, militarily. the soviet union is propping up eastern europe economically, militarily and both countries are mutually suspicious of each other and both countries now have the atomic bomb. we're an awful lot alike. and we know that we simply don't want to push that envelope much
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further with both countries possessing nuclear weapons. and so what happens then, when we have this sort of stalemate in europe, it simply means that the cold war is going to spread into a different area. and we're headed into asia now. who's this fellow? china. >> i live right down the street from his street in cambodia. moo tse-tung. it's big street in cambodia, and i live a block away from there. isn't that cool? >> how many years ago was that? >> when i lived there. >> december a year ago. >> really? that's recent. all right. here's the situation in china. after the war's over, there is a civil war that engulfs china
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between the forces of chiang kai-shek and my tse-tung. the nationalists and the communists. a civil war. long story short is by the end of 1949, mao and the communists drive chang kai-shek and the nationalists out over to the island of formosa, taiwan, and china falls to communism. this has not been a good couple of months for harry truman if you stop and think about it. he is informed that his, the soviet union has successfully detonated an atomic bomb and then a couple of months later, he finds out that the most populace state in the world has fallen to communism. it's not a good fall early winter for harry truman. the largest territorial state in the world has an atom bomb.
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the most populace state in the world has now fallen to communism. and in our minds, they are linked and in fact, in early 1950, the chinese and the soviets, they sign a treat of mutual assistance which just solidifies the fact that a communist is a communist is a communist. again, what we know today is that chinese communism and soviet communism, there are some real differences but back in 1949, 1950, this is panic starting to envelope in the united states. we've stopped the spread of communism in europe but look what's happened in other parts of the world. so we have to respond some way, somehow. this is containment. instead of containing communist expansion in europe, we have to contain it in another part of the world. what do we do? one is that we simply refuse to us recognize the legitimacy of mao. for over 30 years, the united states is not going to have any sort of diplomatic relationship with communist china.
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we will continue to recognize the chinese government in taiwan as the legitimate government of china. we simply aren't going to have anything to do with mao and the communists in china. all right, well that doesn't hurt them much but we have to find a way to stop or contain communism in this part of the world, and that is, we need a new best friend. one of the strange ironies of the cold war is the nation that we've just nuked back into the flintstone era a few years earlier is now our new best friend. 1950, we're going to start rebuilding japan. so that they can help us stop the spread of chinese communism in this part of the world. and then finally, there is a document that is known as nsc 6, this is the national security council report listed as the nsc 68. it's going to outline what the
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united states should do in dealing with communism. three things. first, it said we shouldn't trite to contain it anymore. we need to literally go to war. we need to have victory over communism, not just try to contain it, but be victorious over it. second, in order to do that, we're going to have to have a huge increase in our defense budget. just threw some numbers up there for you. i haven't done the math yet. somebody will have to help me out. our defense budget goes from $13 billion in 1950 up to $50 billion just three years later. i don't know what percent of increase that is, but it's big. we're building up not only our conventional weapons, more planes, more ships, more tanks, artillery. but we're also going to build up
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a new bomb. the development of the thermonuclear bomb or it's just simply called the hydrogen bomb. we have to do this because the soviet union has the atomic bomb. if they have the atomic bomb, we feed a new bigger, badder bomb. and so we're going to begin to develop the hydrogen. in other words, we're starting an arms race with the soviet union. >> does that explain why japan -- [ inaudible ] >> fair question. i think they're looking at who's going to offer them economic assistance, who's going to help them rebuild. they are always wary of the chinese and the soviet union and the united states is reaching out, offering something like an olive branch as well as a lot of financial assistance. we'll take it. an arms race is now a by-product of the cold war.
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you have this weapon. we have to have another weapon. all of which brings me to dr. suess. you all read dr. suess, right, growing up? anybody read the butter battle book? it's about the cold war, folks. i'm not talking about the foot book and the abc book and all those classics. dr. suess wrote a book about the cold war, the butter battle book. i don't have time to read it to you. the library has a copy. i've got it in my office. classic. it's about two groups. zooks and the yooks. they don't like each other. why? because one group buttered their bread butter side up and the other is butter side down. now, there's a reason to go to war. how you butter your bread. but it's a children's story about the cold war and the es